Fines against nursing homes that were found to injure or endanger their residents were significantly reduced after the Trump administration changed its policy on the issue. Average fines dropped from $41,260 in 2016 under the Obama administration to $28,405 under Trump. The reason why fines decreased so much is due to a policy that changed the way nursing homes in North Carolina and other states were fined. It changed from the number of days they were out of compliance to a single fine for each reported violation.
Virtually all skilled nursing facilities accept taxpayer dollars via Medicare. As a condition of being able to get paid Medicare dollars, Medicare has regulations that set minimum standards for the quality of nursing care provided in nursing homes. The purpose of these regulations is in part to ensure proper care is given in order to avoid neglect, injury, and even death to nursing home patients. These regulations, 42 CFR 483.25, address some of the more common types of problems we see in nursing home cases, problems that can lead to injury, or even death.
Richmond Pines nursing home in Hamlet, North Carolina was ranked by Medicare as the worst nursing home in North Carolina as of September 1, 2018, based on the ranking system for The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Due to serious deficiencies that have the potential for hurting patients, the facility was placed on CMS' Special Focus Facilities List, which means it has a limited amount of time to improve its quality of care before CMS imposes serious consequences, such as terminating the nursing home from participating in Medicare and Medicaid permanently. As a result of an inspection that found one patient outside unaccompanied, and another trapped between the mattress and footboard of a bed, the facility has already been terminated from reimbursements from Medicare and Medicare.
Nursing homes have the responsibility to protect their residents and promote their well being and dignity. Unfortunately, though, sometimes nursing homes violate residents' rights. Sometimes residents and their families are unaware of their rights, and nursing homes are not held accountable. Do you know your rights?